Saturday, Jan 31, 2015Saturday, Jan 31, 2015

Rome mayor steps in to rescue cat colony

Published on Dec 5, 2012 6:09 AM
Cats rest inside the headquarters of the "Feline Colony of Largo Argentina" organisation, near the ancient Area Sacra ruins, in Rome on Oct 30, 2012. Members of the self-funded non-profit "Largo Argentina" group, who are dedicated to taking care of the several hundred cats which roam the Area Sacra ruins are worried about a decision by the Rome Department of Archeology to "clean-up" the ruins, fearing that the government institution is aiming to push out the stray cats. -- PHOTO: AFP

ROME (AFP) - Stray cats prowling the ruins of ancient Rome can rest easy on their marble pedestals - a feline colony tucked away near the spot where Julius Caesar was murdered is no longer threatened with closure.

"These cats are not up for debate, they are part of the history of Rome," mayor Gianni Alemanno said on a visit on Tuesday to the refuge, which currently looks after around 250 cats, providing them with food and vaccinations.

"This is a praiseworthy, historical, wonderful enterprise. The feline colony must not be hounded out. Woe to those who lay a finger on the cats," he said.

City heritage officials have been threatening to close down the sanctuary, which sits in an tiny, cave-like structure at one end of the ancient site where Marcus Brutus and his fellow mutineers stabbed Caesar to death.

If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here